QUITO – Quito, described in a traditional Ecuadorian song as “an Eden of wonders, filled with a thousand verses and melodies,” has been honored for preserving its historic colonial quarter as a lively and dynamic part of the modern city.
Less than 10 months after celebrating the 40th anniversary of its designation as a World Heritage Site, Quito received the Jean-Paul L’Allier Award during the 14th World Congress of the Organization of World Heritage Cities (OWHC) in Gyeongju, South Korea.
The biennial prize, named for the OWHC’s founder, is the most important distinction granted to heritage cities for their efforts to manage and preserve cultural patrimony, Angelica Arias, director of the Heritage Metropolitan Museum, told EFE.
Quito applied for the award with a project to incentivize the conservation of heritage properties in private ownership.
The city has launched four programs to help some 8,000 owners to undertake repairs and restoration through a combination of direct subsidizes and loans on generous terms, she said.
Municipal officials monitor the work to ensure that it is “done according to proper techniques and within the standards of heritage conservation,” Arias said.
Besides winning the L’Allier Award, Quito was chosen during the World Congress to join the OWHC’s eight-member Administrative Council.